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Death Tax Discussion

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Editors’ Note: The following is a message from Common Sense For Oregon. 

Healthy Communities Initiative has not taken a position on this issue.

Lane Solutions welcomes readers’ comments and opinions on this or any issue presented in Lane Solutions.

Is It Time to End Oregon’s Death Tax?

Many agriculture, business organizations and citizen activist groups have united in a mission to end Oregon’s death tax. These groups are working to get Initiative Petition 15, the Death Tax Phase-Out Act, on the November 2012 ballot. A little more than 87,000 signatures are required to qualify for the ballot, but to ensure the success of this initiative supporters are preparing to collect 125,000 signatures by the end of June.

Oregon’s estate tax ranges from 10%-16%, with a $1 million deduction. This is separate from and in addition to the federal estate tax. Oregon is one of only three states west of the Mississippi to still have an estate tax; the other two are Washington and Hawaii. Since 2001, 29 states have repealed their death taxes, and the Governor of Indiana recently signed a bill into law to phase out Indiana’s death tax.

We all know this is a burden on family farms, ranches, and businesses. In a family business, where you might be land and equipment rich, but have limited cash at hand, it can be nearly impossible to pay the tax without selling the property or taking out a loan. These taxes also come at the worst time— at the death of a beloved family member.

The Death Tax Phase-Out Act phases out the current Oregon estate tax over the course of three years. Starting January 1, 2013, the current tax would be decreased in 25% increments each year until January 1, 2016, when the tax would be eliminated. Oregon death taxes by any unit of government would be  prohibited.

The Death Tax Phase-Out Act would also protect families who are transferring property. Currently, Oregon families are subject to pay the capital gains tax on intra-family property transfers. This tax would also be phased out on the same schedule as Oregon’s death tax.

If you would like to sign the petition, you can go to, download the e-petition, sign the petition, and mail it in. If you would like to receive a volunteer circulation packet, or volunteer in other ways, please send an email to, or call 503.480.0523.


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